But Event Viewer isn't the most user-friendly feature in Windows. So how do you decipher the findings in Event Viewer to see if they can help you resolve an actual problem? Read on.
To open Event Viewer in any version of Windows, go to Control Panel and change the view to Large or Small icons if the view is not already set that way. Click on the icon for Administrative Tools. From the Administrative Tools screen, double-click on the shortcut for Event Viewer. The Event Viewer window pops up.
It looks confusing and complicated, but once you get past the surface appearance, you'll find details that may help resolve a technical issue.
In the left pane, Event Viewer uses folders to organize the different events collected. The Windows Logs record events that apply to your entire Windows system. The Applications and Services Logs record events that apply to just a single application or service. Double-click on the setting for Windows Logs. You'll see subfolders that divide the various events by category: Application, Security, Setup, and System. Click on one of the subfolders, such as System, and scroll down to view the different events.
As you scroll down, you'll notice that events are typically tagged with one of three levels: Information; Warning, or Error. Information is a completely harmless level, serving just to record natural events that occur in Windows. Warning is usually no cause for any real concern; it's just a sign that something unexpected happened or failed to happen. Error is obviously the most significant of the three levels, indicating a problem that may or may not be affecting Windows or an application.
You may also see some events marked as Critical or Verbose, but those are rare. However, a Critical event would be the most serious type and potentially indicative of a problem that needs to be addressed.
Beyond browsing through all events, you can also customize the view to show only certain types of events. For example, to view just errors and critical events, click on the Windows Logs folder. Then in the Actions pane on the right, click on the command to "Create Custom View."
In the Create Custom View window, click on the checkmarks for Critical and Error. Then click on the drop-down menu for Event logs and select Windows Logs. Click OK.
In the "Save Filter to Custom View" window, name your custom view and click OK.
Now you can scroll through the filtered list to view only errors and critical events. But most of the event details are filled with technical verbiage, sometimes making it difficult to find the one event that could help you. So, your next option is to run a search in Event Viewer for whatever problem you're encountering. To do this, click on the Find command in the Actions pane.Read More...
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